Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dress and Worm Bin

After reading Made From Scratch, I got excited about sewing some of my own clothes. So I've been working on sewing a dress for myself. I picked out a pattern and the material and as of last night I've got the bodice done (sans zipper). I'm way too excited about having a dress. I can never find a dress that I like that also fits me. They're usually too short. In making this dress I actually added three inches onto the skirt length just to be sure. Just another perk to sewing your own stuff I guess:) Hooray! I love dresses and just don't wear them enough, usually they're reserved for church and special occasions. When I was looking at some old patterns online there was one that I fell in love with, a housewife dress from the 50's. Those were the days, a dress and pearls everyday. I tell myself I'd wear dresses more often if my daily activities allowed. Activities like, gardening, corralling Jonas, turning the compost, shoveling manure into our four door family car. On a related note the old-ish couple across the street from us work in their yard every Saturday. The woman, Mary, always wears a mid-thigh denim skirt (in varying colors) with jewelry and everything. That's my kinda gal! Sometimes it gets a little graphic when she climbs the bank, but she looks good! But I digress... I'll post some pictures of the dress when it is completed.

Last saturday My friends Siobhan and Nikol and I went to Summer's Past Farms for the sweet pea maze, composting class and general merriment. I left with another lavender, French Lavender this time, and Lemon Verbena. I've had my mind set on growing lemon verbena for a little while and I'm so happy they had it at summer's past farms. It smells amazing and I can't wait until it's established so that I can make tea from it's leaves. I really wanted to get my hands on some scented geraniums but they were plum out.
The composting class was a revelation. I learned that I can apply a light dusting of fireplace ash to my abundance of pine needles to get a healthier ph balance in my compost. Pine needles are very acidic and ash is very alkaline. A match made in heaven.
I also saw a really neat worm bin that the instructor had made herself out of two rubbermaid containers. I liked the idea so much that I made one for myself. I picked up a pound of red worms at the farmer's market today and now my worm bin is off and running. To make the worm bin you simply acquire two large tubs that nest inside one another with a reasonable amount of space in between the bottoms (for the tea to collect). The bottom container will act as a tea tray, for all of the glorious juices to drain into. Drill holes into the bottom of the second container and also along the top edge (for air circulation). And you're finished, fill it with worms, bedding and food scraps and you're in business.

I am grossly disappointed with our carrot harvest this year. I pulled them all up yesterday, they were in the ground twice as long as they needed to be and they were still shrimpy little things. We didn't use any of them, off to the compost pile for them. All of our carrots will be grown in containers next time, most likely in the self-waterers.

The self-waterers by the way are working marvelously!!! The tomato plants are already a very good size and we've been eating the basil. In fact we had some tonight on our pizza. We also had two strawberries this evening...which Jonas saw fit to pick off of the plant. I caught him when he was picking the second one, his little fist was so tight around the berry that I just let him pick it rather than have it squish in his hand. It wasn't ripe, but still tasted better than any store bought strawberry and it was even better than the carlsbad berries (though markedly smaller). Jonas loves himself some strawberries, I'll have to keep a closer eye on him now that he knows they are over there. We are having a similar issue with the peas, he loves them and is constantly trying to pick pods off the vine before they are ripe. It fills me with glee that Jonas has such experiences and will grow up with a knowledge of how food "works." But it's somewhat inconvenient to find unripened, half-chewed pods littering the ground.


NIKOL said...

Fun! I can't wait to see your dress. Though I've sewn lots of things in my time, I've never made clothes (except for dolls...and that was when I was 10, and not working from a pattern). I've always wanted to learn. I've casually thought I should teach myself by making, say, a costume for Halloween or something.

I hope the lemon verbena thrives! I'm going to get some of my own one of these days. It's just one of many things I want to grow!

One Acre Homestead said...

I am sooo going to make a compost bin now! How big are the holes you drilled?

Clong said...

I couldn't tell you the exact size of the holes or drill bit I used, sorry! but they're probably about a quarter inch or so. I wish I had drilled them smaller or put a mesh screen in because some fruit flies have gotten in. Not too many but still more than I'd like!

You should really make this bin! I am so pleased with it and it was cheap! I am astounded at how quickly the worms eat up the scraps. I can hardly keep them fed. I'll post more on the worm bin later today when my son, Jonas is napping.